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speaks or acts; next, its action; and lastly, the objects of its action. Thus an English writer, paying a compliment to a great man, would say, “ It is impossible for me to pass over in silence so distinguished mildness, so singular and unheard of clemency, and so uncommon moderation, in the exercise of supreme power." Here is first presented to us the person who speaks, “It is impossible for me;" next, what the same person is to do, pass over in silence ;” and lastly, the object which excites him to action, " the mildness, clemency, and moderation of his patron." Cicero, from whom these words are translated, reverses this order. He begins with the object; places that first, which was the exciting idea in ihe speaker's mind, and ends with the speaker and his action. ..“ Tantam mansuetudinem, tam inusita. tam inauditamque clementiam, tantumque in summa potestate rerum omnium modum, tacitus nullo modo præterire possum.” Here, it must be observed, the Latin order is more animated; the English more clear and distinct.
Our language naturally allows greater liberty for transposition and inversion in poetry, than in prose. Even there however this liberty is confined within narrow limits, in comparison with the ancient languages. In this respect, modern tongues vary from each other. The Italian approaches the nearest in its character to the ancient transposition ; the English has more inversion than the rest ; and the French has the least of all.
Writing is an improvement upon speech, and consequently was posterior to it in order of time. lts characters are of two kinds, signs of things and signs of words. Thus the pictures, bieroglyph
ics and symbols, employed by the ancients, were of the former sort ; the alphabetical characters, now employed by Europeans, of the latter.
Pictures were certainly the first attempt toward writing. Mankind in all ages and in all nations have been prone to imitation. This would soon be employed for describing and recording events. Thus, to signify that one man had killed another, they painted the figure of one man lying on the ground, and of another standing by him with a hostile weapon in his hand. When America was first discovered, this was the only kind of writing with wbich the Mexicans were acquainted. It was however a very imperfect mode of recording facts ; since by pictures external events only could be delineated.
Hieroglyphical characters may be considered as the second stage of the art of writing. They consist of certain symbols, which are made to stand for invisible objects on account of their supposed resemblance of the objects themselves. Thus an eye represented knowledge; and a circle, having neither beginning nor end, was the symbol of eternity Egypt was the country where this kind of writing was most studied, and brought into a regular art. By these characters all the boasted wisdom of their priests was conveyed. They pitched upon animals, to be the emblems of moral objects, according to the qualities with which they supposed them to be endued. Thus prudence was denominated by a fly; wisdom, by an ant; and victory, by a hawk. But , this sort of writing was in the highest degree enigmatical and confused; and consequently a very imperfect vehicle of knowledge.
From hieroglyphics some nations gradually advanced to simple arbitrary marks, which stood for ohjects, though without any resemblance of the objects signified. Of this nature was the writing of the Peruvians. They used small cords of different colours; and by knots upon these, of different sizes and variously ranged, they invented signs for communicating their thoughts to one another. The Chinese at this day use written characters of this nature. They have no alphabet of letters or simple sounds of which their words are composed; but every single character, which they use, is expressive of an idea ; it is a mark, which signifies some one thing or object, The number of these characters must consequently be immense. They are said indeed to amount to seventy thousand. To be perfectly acquainted with them is the business of a whole life; which must have greatly retarded among them the progress of every kind of science.
It is evident, that the Chinese characters, like hieroglyphics, are signs of things, and not of words. For we are told, that the Japanese, the Tonquinese, and the Coreans, who speak different languages from each other, and from the inhabitants of China, use, however, the same written characters with them, and thus correspond intelligibly with one another in writing, though mutually ignorant of each other's language. Our arithmetical figures, 1, 2, 3, 4, &c. are an example of this sort of writing. They have no dependence on words; each figure represents the number for which it stands; and consequently is equally understood by all nations, who have agreed in the use of these figures.
The first step, to remedy the imperfection, the ambiguity, and the tediousness of each of the methods of communication, which have been mentioned, was the invention of signs, which should stand not directly for things, but for the words by which things were named and distinguished. An alphabet of syllables seems to have been invented previously to an alphabet of letters. Such a one is said to be retained at this day in Ethiopia and some countries of India. But at best it must have been imperfect and ineffectual; since the number of characters, being very considerable, must have rendered both reading and writing very complex and laborious.
To whom we are indebted for the sublime and refined discovery of letters is not determined. They were brought into Greece by Cadmus, the Phenician, who, according to Sir Isaac Newton's chronolozy, was contemporary with king David. His alphabet contained only sixteen letters. The rest were afterwards added, according as signs for proper sounds were found to be wanting. The Phenician, Hebrew, Greek, and Roman alphabets agree so much in the figure, names, and arrangement of the letters, as amounts to demonstration, that they were derived originally from the same source.
The ancient order of writing was from the right hand to the left. This method, as appears from some very old inscriptions, prevailed even among the Greeks. They afterwards used to write their lines alternately from the right to the left, and from the left to the right. The inscription on the famous Sigean monument is a specimen of this mode of writing, which continued till the days of Solon, the celebrated legislator of Athens. At length, the motion from the left hand to the right, being found more natural and convenient, this order of writing was adopted by all the nations of Europe.
Writing was first exhibited on pillars and tables of stone ; afterwards on plates of the softer metals. As it became more common, the leaves and bark of certain trees were used in some countries; and in others, tablets of wood, covered with a thin coat of soft wax, on which the impression was made with a stylus of iron. Parchment, made of the hides of animals, was an invention of later times. Paper was not invented before the fourteenth century.
STRUCTURE OF LANGUAGE. The common division of speech into eight parts, nouns, pronouns, verbs, participles, adverbs, prepositions, interjections, and conjunctions, is not very accurate ; since under the general term of pouns it comprehends both substantives and adjectives, which are parts of speech essentially distinct. Yet, as we are most accustomed to this division, and, as logical exactness is not necessary to our present design, we shall adopt these terms which habit has made familiar to us.
Substantive nouns are the foundation of mar, and the most ancient part of speech. When men had advanced beyond simple interjections or exclamations of passion, and bad begun to communicate their ideas to each other, they would be obliged to assiga names to objects, by